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Gareth Patterson / AP

Dallas Stars left wing Jason Robertson (21) scores against Vegas Golden Knights goalie Adin Hill, center, during the first period of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Western Conference finals Thursday, May 25, 2023, in Dallas.

As the Golden Knights have learned throughout the playoffs, pushback from the opposition comes at some point.

The Dallas Stars brought it in the 3-2 overtime victory at American Airlines Center on Thursday. More notably, it was the performance the Stars needed from their superstar, Jason Robertson.

Robertson scored his fifth and sixth goals of the playoffs in Game 4 to cut Vegas’ series lead to 3-1, with Game 5 today at T-Mobile Arena (5 p.m., ESPN), as the Golden Knights will once again try to win their second Western Conference crown in franchise history.

The Stars needed their top players to deliver to keep their slim hopes alive, and Robertson did that in Game 4 with not just two goals, but a game-high 11 shots on goal.

“I think we were playing a lot faster, a lot quicker … and cleaner in breakouts,” Robertson said. “That gave me a lot of opportunities.”

Consider that Jack Eichel, Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson had 12 shots combined, and Thursday was the perfect example of Dallas’ big-time players stepping up to carry them to a win.

It was only a matter of time before Robertson got going. The 23-year-old superstar has been a force since becoming a full-time NHL player in 2021 when he finished second in the Calder Trophy ranking behind Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov.

In his first full NHL season last year, Robertson hit 41 goals. This year, he one-upped that, and then some, with 46 goals and 109 points.

That’s why his lack of scoring in the playoffs was a surprise. In the first two rounds, Robertson had just two goals through 13 games. Fortunately for Robertson, he had linemates Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski to pick up the slack. Hintz leads all players in scoring this postseason with 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists), and the 38-year-old Pavelski scored his ninth goal of the playoffs at 3:18 of overtime Thursday to extend the Stars’ season.

“He’s a dynamic player,” defenseman Alec Martinez said. “Their backs were against the wall, and one of their top players made plays. That’s the name of the game sometimes.”

The Stars were already facing an uphill climb down 3-0 in the series and then had to play that game without Jamie Benn — serving a two-game suspension — and forward Evgenii Dadonov to a lower-body injury. Neither will play on Saturday.

But getting that win without their captain and veteran goal scorer can instill confidence in Dallas. Teams have come back from 3-0 deficits before to win a series, most recently the 2014 Los Angeles Kings against the San Jose Sharks. Martinez was on that team.

It might be challenging to build experience from that, considering no team in 47 tries has ever won four straight to win the series before the Stanley Cup Final in league history, and the Kings completed that rally in the first round.

“I think experience in general, I would rely on the experience I’ve been in up 3-0 and not closing a team out in that Game 4,” Martinez said. “The fourth one is the hardest to get.”

But as far as there needing to be much from the Golden Knights to change with the series shifting back to Las Vegas, there may not be a lot of tinkering. The Stars benefitted from dictating the matchups in Game 4 because of being at home, something they couldn’t do in Game 3 after the hilarity that ensued with Benn’s cross-check to Mark Stone, and Dadonov leaving the game in the first period.

The consensus is the Golden Knights need to do a better job playing near the crease. Both of Robertson’s goals came slightly outside the blue paint on multiple efforts. Adin Hill played, arguably, his best game of the series with 39 saves on Thursday. But Jake Oettinger was as good in Game 4 with 37 saves.

“You obviously want to win in four and close it on the road,” Hill said. “But it’s always nice to come back and be in front of the home crowd. I’m excited for tomorrow.”

It will likely be another game where William Karlsson’s line will be tasked with slowing down Robertson, Hintz and Pavelski. All three members of Dallas’ top line found the back of the net in Game 4. Dallas’ limited depth has a tall task in front of itself.

Should the Golden Knights contain those matchups, that could be the difference from meeting the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday.

“It’s finding that balance between knowing what’s at stake and approaching it as another playoff game,” Martinez said. “You’re better off focusing on the process knowing if you play a good game, play a good 60, the result will take care of itself.”

Golden Knights-Stars, Game 5 (Vegas leads 3-1)

Time: 5 p.m.

Where: T-Mobile Arena


Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM

Odds: Golden Knights -146, Stars +126; O/U 5.5 (Westgate SuperBook)

Danny Webster can be reached at 702-259-8814 or [email protected]. Follow Danny on Twitter at

Article written by #LasVegasSun

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